Nero heads T&T NACAC Cross-Country team

by Athletics T&T,​​; 3.3.17

T&T's NACAC team
Members of T&T's 2017 NACAC Cross-Country Champion team before departing for the Piarco on Friday, 3, March. From left: Jules Larode, Elvis Turner, Matthew Hagley, Samantha Shukla, Shirvan Baboolal, Colin Pereira and Curtis Cox. (Missing is Tonya Nero). The NACAC Cross-Country Championships will take place at the South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, Florida on Saturday, 4, March. (Photo courtesy: SPORTSCORE TOBAGO)


Trinidad & Tobago Secondary Schools'

Track & Field Association

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad: (Fri, 3, March) T&T's long distance queen Tonya Nero will lead T&T's eight member team into action at the 13th edition of the North American Central and Caribbean Cross Country Championships at the South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, Florida on Saturday, 4, March. Nero is one of two women in the contingent named by the NAAA (National Association of Athletic Administration) on Thursday, 2, March. Nero and 2016 national ladies cross country winner Samantha Shukla will do battle in the women's 8km set for 10:20am while veteran Curtis Cox is among six in the men's 8km event. He is joined by two-time defending national champion Mathew Hagley, Jules Larode, Collin Pereira, Elvis Turner and Shirvan Baboolal in the men's 8km.  Nero will be aiming to win her and T&T's second individual medal in the regional meet following a historic first in the 2012 edition held in front of her home fans at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain when she won a silver medal. The Maracas, St. Joseph resident will be competing in her sixth NACAC Cross Country Championships. She was 13th in 2015 race (over 6km) in Caraballeda, Venezuela and 11th in 2014 when the race was contested at the Mt. Irvine Golf Course in Tobago. She was also 11th in 2013 when the event was held in Mandeville, Jamaica. She first represented T&T as a 17 year old in 2007 (Orlando, Florida, USA) where she crossed the line in 19th position in the Junior women's 4km.

​Shukla will be making her fourth appearance. The South East POS Sec/St. Joseph Convent-POS graduate was 20th in women's 6km ran in 2016. Her best finish to date was 11th in 2010 race (Mt. Irvine, Tobago). She was also 19th (2009) and 24th (2009) in the junior women's 4km. 

Among the men, Cox is contesting the event for the fourth time (29th-10km-2016, 26th-2012,  21st-2011, 15th-2010). However, Larode has the honour of most appearance-eight (30th-2016, 17th-2014,  22nd-2013, 19th-2012, 23rd-2011, 23rd-2010, 17th-2009, 38th-2007). Hagley is lining up in his sixth edition (31st-2016, 20th-2013, 27th-2012, 35th-2011, 22nd-2010). Baboolal (24th-2014), Pereira (229th-2012), Turner (40th-2007) will wear the national colours for the second time.  The men's race will get underway at 11:00am. The local lads will also be vying for team honours and will be aiming for a top three finish for the first time ever. The best ever male team placing for the local runners was fourth at the 2010 edition.  The women's team was second in 2012 and third in 2014, 2011 and 2010. However, T&T's ladies will not be battling for overall awards with only two entrants. A  minimum of four finishers is the criteria to vie for team honours.

The athletes (minus Nero) left Trinidad on Friday for Orlando on a 12:30pm Caribbean Airlines flight. NAAA Secretary Dexter Voisin will serve as coach, while NAAA Director Dawn Washington is the manager and Shurland is the team's massage therapist.  Nero will join the team in Orlando as she left for the USA over two weeks ago to prepare for the event at the former university,  Wichita State, in Kansas.  The junior women's 5km (9:00am) and junior men's 6Km (9:40am) are the first two events on the schedule.   The team will hosted at Boca Raton Marriott hotel. 

Washington said the delegation was chosen following the National Cross-Country Championships held in December. She added that the NAAA was confident of the chances of the male team. "When we looked at the top six (male) athletes (at the Championships) we felt that they were within range so we decided to go with a male team and we could vie for the team honours (as well)." She added she is hoping with all the members having competed in previous editions the experience will help them. "The athletes compete before and know what it (the event entails). We have a good chance once they stay fit and the weather is permissible. I expect them to do well. "

Full team
Women's 8km: Tonya Nero, Samantha Shukla
Men's 8km: Curtis Cox, Matthew Hagley, Jules La Rode, Collin Pereira, Elvis Turner, Shirvan Baboolal
Manager: Dawn Washington
Coach: Dexter Voisin
Massage therapist: Shurland Baboolal

Schedule (Saturday, 4, March)
10:20am:Women's 8km
11:00am: Men's 8km

History of T&T at NACAC Cross-Country Champs

2016-Caraballeda, Venezuela
  • Men's  10K: 1st Nicholas Landeau 35:52.15, 28th George Smith 37:03.66, 29th Curtis Cox 37:28.82, 30th Jules Larode 39:24.95, 31st Matthew Hagley 40:02.79, 32nd Quincy Elliot 44:18.07
2015-Baranquilla, Colombia (Pan Am)
  • Men's 8km: 50th George Smith 26:27
  • Women's 6km: 13th Tonya Nero 23:18, 20th Samantha Shukla 24:52,
2014-Mt. Irvine, Tobago
  • Men's 8km: 17th Jules Larode  26:51.25, 20th Kendis Bullard 28:02.85, 21st Kade Sobers 28:15.53, 22nd George Smith 29:05.20, 24th Shirvan Baboolal 29:23.26
  • Team: 5th T&T Junior men's 6k: 22nd Akeem Marshall 20:31.34, 25th Ashton Gill 21:11.84, 26th Jevon Joseph 21:21.97,  27th Joshua James 21:23.24, 28th Daniel Elie 21:29.30, 29th Atiba Samuel 22:35.37
  • Team: 5th T&T Women's 6k: 11th Tonya Nero 22:03.49, 14th Jenelle Nedd 24:22.82, 16th Dawnell Collymore 25:42.99, 17th Elia Nero 27:22.35
  • Team: 3rd T&T Junior men's 4km: 23rd Aaliyah Mitchell 16:29.35, 25th Donica Antoine 16:46.04, 26th Mikayla Ottley 18:06.80, 27th Tyla-Marie Scott 20:24.04, 28th Sherese Crichlow 22:05.55
  • Team: 5th T&T ​
2013-Mandeville, Jamaica​
  • Men's 6km: 27th Richard Jones  27.22, 20th Matthew Hagley 27.55, 22nd Jules Larode 28:34, 23rd Denzil Ramirez 28:45, 25th Kendis Bullard 30:06
  • Team: 4th T&T Junior men's 6km: 24th Akeem Marshall 21:32, 26th Mark London 21.43, 29th Jevon Joseph 23.01, 30th Ashton Gill 23:14, 32nd Romario Rodriguez 24:00
  • Team: 5th T&T Women's 6km: 11th Tonya Nero 22:52
2012-Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • Men's 8km: 19th Jules Larode 26:44.96, 26th Curtis Cox 27:24.49, 27th Mathew Hagley 28:11.95, 28th Roland Bartholomew 28:37.08, 29th* Collin Pereira 30:28.01, 30th Kenroy Pierre 31:36.46,
  • Team: 4th T&T Junior men's 6km: 22nd Akeem Marshall 20:04.58, 25th Nicholas Landeau 20:11.21, 33rd Jevon Joseph 21:59.32, 34th Travis Diaz 22:19.98, 35th Kyle Johnson 22:38.81, 37th Sowande Jackson 23:22.43
  • Team: 5th T&T Junior women's  4km: 27th Kerchell Douglas 20:24.73, dnf Eleisha Serapio
  • Women 6km: 2nd Tonya Nero 20:32.42, 10th Donicia Antoine 26:40.89, 12th This Gutierrez 27:32.90, 12th Mickayla Ottley 28:51.22
  • Team: 2nd T&T
2011-Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • Men 8km: 17th Denzil Ramirez 25:53.4, , 21st Curtis Cox 26:18.4, 23rd Jules Larode 26:22.3, 25th Sherwin Stapleton 26:39.5,  35th Matthew Hagely 27:52.1, dnf George Smith
  • Team: 3rd T&T Women 6km: 14th Celine Lestrade 24:02.03, 16th Paulette Luces 26:17.3, 18th Kertisha John  26:49.9, 19th Melissa Daniel 28:15.5
  • Team: 3rd T&T
2010-Mt. Irvine, Tobago
  • Men's 8km: 11th Richard Jones 26:12.5,  15th Curtis Cox 26.53.4,  20th George Smith 27:42.5, 21st Brian Maynard 27:57.3, 22nd Matthew Hagley 28:03.5, 23rd Jules Larode 28:25.1
  • Team: 4th T&T Junior men's 6km: 24th Devery Robley 21:22.5, 27th Dillon Thomas 22:31.3, 28th Mark London 22:50.2,
  • Women's 6km: 11th Samantha Shuka 24:03.3, 12th Shermin Lasaldo 25:06.6, 13th Paulette Luces 25:36.0, 16th Kema McShine 27:05.5
  • Team: 3rd T&T
2009-Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Men's 8km: 17th Jules Larode 26:01
  • Junior men's 6km: 24th George Smith 20:25
  • Junior women's 4km: 19th Samantha Shukla 14:37​
2008-Orlando, Florida, USA
did not participate
2007-Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Men's 8km: 21st Richard Jones 26:43, 38th Jules Larode 28:30, 40th Elvis Turner 28:49
  • Junior men's 6km: 25th Garvyn Nero 21:15, 26th Sherwyn Stapleton 21:30
  • Women's 6km: 24th Kerticia John 16:12, 25th Paula Jones 27:27
  • Junior women's 4km: 19th Tonya Nero 16:07, 22nd Shermin Lasaldo 16:20, 24th Samantha Shukla 16:30

2006-Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Men's 8km: 24th Richard Jones 28:15, 33rd Sandino Nero 30:13, 35th Denzil Ramirez 31:40, 36th Clarence Tobias 32.44
  • Team: 7th T&T
2005-Orlando, Florida, USA
did not participate